In our last update, we gave you a summary of our work during the last bargaining meeting. Find below, a full report on our activities.
RE pay proposal
Given the current Phoenix situation, our pay proposal was designed to be simple in addition to being fair. We proposed an across-the-board 4% science and research adjustment for all RE employees. This is in addition to the economic increases being negotiated at the PIPSC central table. Additionally, we proposed a catch-up adjustment for our SE-REM members, who missed out on classification-specific adjustments in the last contract and who are in danger of falling out of step with their colleagues in other technical management positions. For the DS group, we proposed a DS-specific pay restructuring, outlined below, and proposed changes reducing the number of pay notes complicating our pay system while protecting members’ pay.
Our proposal was backed by an extensive evidence-based case drawing on national economic data, comparators inside and outside the federal public service, data on departures, the labour market situation and illustrative case studies.
Having identified it as a gap in the developmental opportunities in the current collective agreement, we tabled our proposal on Sabbatical Leave. We presented evidence to the Employer that RE members at all levels have been accepting professorial appointments at all ranks, across Canada and into the United States. As such we strongly feel it is important that we match the features of employment of researchers employed in the academic sector, not simply in wages.
We’ve adopted our model from language that exists elsewhere in the public service, specifically in the UT collective agreement. Take a look at them here (https://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/agreements-conventions/view-visualiser-eng.aspx?id=27#toc15317215324), and we encourage you to have discussions with your colleagues on the positive impact this would have on your research the next time you have lunch or take a break.
Telework and Office Space
In our modernizing context, telework and office space are important considerations, and currently governed by employer policy. We tabled proposals on telework and office space to give our members uniform and enforceable rights with regards to telework and office space, as well as a framework for consultation on changes to the office environment, in the collective agreement.
A cornerstone to our proposals is to ensure that our professionals have the appropriate space to conduct the highly specialized work that falls to subject to the scrutiny of anonymous peer review. Finally, for those working in conjunction with labs – you actually need to be close to them in order to supervise or conduct the work.
DS Pay System
The team also presented demands to address the anomalies of the DS pay system. Firstly, in line with the Employer’s stated desire for pay simplification, we proposed moving DS members to a simpler pay progression harmonized the incumbent-based SE-RES and HR members - i.e., retaining the ability to be promoted from any point, but with regular yearly increments and the removal of the barrier concept. We further proposed to collapse the number of steps within DS-04 and DS-05, to reduce the observed incentives for DS members to move to jobs to other classifications which currently have fewer, wider steps within their pay scales.
With respect to the recently announced voluntary mobility policy for DS within DRDC CORA, we proposed to encode protections in the collective agreement for members who agree to move for specific periods of time, and who repeatedly request to leave their current team. This would be paired with a monetary incentive for employees who are willing to continue to be geographically mobile, to compensate them for the financial and other disutilities and disincentives of moving.
The employer’s proposals
While we spent a lot of time presenting our evidence based arguments and rationales for improvements to your contract, we cannot say the same for the employer. The employer presented a request to extend the HR hours of work for the HR members that face the public. Needless to say we will strongly defend any attempt to require you to work outside the normal working hours without access to overtime.
We will return to the bargaining table April 16-18, eager to hear Treasury Board’s positions on pay specific to RE employees and our other demands. In the meantime, negotiations continue at the PIPSC central table on across-the-board monetary improvements, harassment, and improved access to family related leave.
Your RE Bargaining Team
Matt MacLeod (DS), Robin Anderson (SE-RES), Emily MacDonald (HR), Eric Hortop (MA), Jason Rancourt (SE-REM), Jean A. Bérubé (SE-REM), John Donohue (DS), and Nick Pernal (PIPSC)